Camden Courier-Post – February 4, 1928
Mystery Marks 16th Effort as Victim Gives Fake Address
With orders to “shoot on sight” issued to suburban police in their search for South Jersey's “phantom sniper,” that mysterious individual today had a “phantom victim,”
At the Haddon Heights police station is a piece of glass with the notation that it comes from the windshield of “Harry F. Cheeseman of Magnolia.” That was the name given by the man who drove up to the police station yesterday afternoon and gasped out a story of having been fired upon by the “ghostly gunner” who, on 15 previous occasions in the past three months has made targets of automobiles and windows.
But today, after the man had departed, a search failed to disclose any Harry Cheeseman who knew about the affair or, in fact, any Cheeseman at all whether in Magnolia or elsewhere.
For one thing, according to Magnolia post office records, there is no Harry F. Cheeseman who lives on the White Horse pike at Magnolia Road.
“No sir,” was this Cheeseman's reply. “I've fallen into a well, been in a railroad wreck and gotten hit by an automobile but nobody ever shot at me. My car wasn't out of the garage or myself out of the house yesterday. Here's the car. You can see it wasn't hit by any bullet.”
There indeed was the cart and it hadn't been hit.
There is a Charles Cheeseman also in Magnolia, but he wasn't the “phantom victim.” In Stratford, there is a Frank Cheeseman and a Warren Cheeseman but it wasn't either of these two. The only Harry Cheeseman discovered in the county, in fact, is Harry M. Cheeseman of 3053 River Avenue, Camden, and he is not the “phantom victim,” doesn't drive his car and wasn't anywhere near Haddon Heights yesterday.
Whoever the “phantom victim” may have been, he submitted, to Police Chief John Lietenberger and Policeman John Shock, of Haddon Heights, the drilled section of his windshield as evidence that he had been fired upon by the sniper.
Occurred On Pike
The attack occurred, he said, on the White Horse Pike within two blocks of Haddon Heights police headquarters. He was driving north on the pike near Green Street, he said, when he saw the glare of the headlights of an approaching car. As the car passed him, he told police, he heard a cracking sound. A bullet had entered the windshield an inch above his head and embedded itself in the rear upholstery. The bullet, of.22 caliber, flattened itself against the metal inside the upholstery. It still bore the odor of powder, thus leading police to believe it had been fired from a revolver or rifle rather than a compressed air gun, the weapon suspected in some of the other snipings. The “phantom victim” said he had heard no report like that of a gun.
“I am satisfied this is no joke or prank of small boys,” Police Chief Lietenberger said after some of his men examined the course of the bullet. “There was terrific force behind that shot, and the only way to effect the capture of this person is to shoot him on sight if he is observed in the act.”
Just as the identity of the sixteenth victim of the “sniper” became lost, however, that of the fifteenth became known.
Tells of Firing
When he learned that neither Oaklyn nor Collingswood police had secured his name after he had reported a “sniper” attack, Thursday night, Harry Paro of 1032 Linwood Avenue, Collingswood, walked into Collingswood police headquarters last night and declared that he was the man who was fired upon along the White Horse Pike near Cuthbert road.
Paro stated that he was in a highly nervous state soon after the shooting and he hurried away from the scene after the investigation got underway. He said he offered his name to one policeman, whom he did not know, but that individual declared the shooting was not in Collingswood territory.
Just where the actual shooting took place is baffling local residents. Paro, who narrowly missed being struck by the bullet that passed through the windshield of his car, was accompanied by his wife and son. White Horse Pike and Cuthbert Road is the dividing line between Oaklyn and Haddon Township. A few feet away, the Audubon boundary line begins.
Probe Wounding of Three
Meanwhile, Camden detectives investigating new angles of the mystery surrounding the wounding of three men who were placed under arrest “on suspicion” yesterday when they told of having been shot by the “phantom sniper.”
Convinced that John Henry, 19 years old, 319 Stevens Street, had been accidentally shot at the home of Louis Del Duca, 674 Fairview Street, police today released Del Duca and Frank Viguricco, of 414 Benson Street. Henry had told story of having been shot by the sniper while driving on the Black Horse Pike. He later admitted however that he had been handling a gun at Del Duca's home and his tow companions corroborated the story. Detectives found the bullets on the floor in Del Duca's home giving further corroboration to the story. Henry declared that be had told his weird tale of the “phantom sniper” because he did not wish the owner of the gun, who was not named, to know that he had had it.
George Zimmerman, of 2270 Mickle Street, burned as though by an explosion, is still in the Cooper Hospital under police guard, and officers also are holding John Connors, of Fifth and Grant Streets, who was similarly injured. Although the man declared they had been fired upon by the “sniper,” detectives frankly refused to accept this story from the beginning. Hinting that they believed the men had been injured in some sort of explosion, details of which they did not wish to become known, the detectives sought to ascertain whether any safe blowing or hijacking “jobs” had been attempted in this vicinity early yesterday.
Today the sleuths were divided between two theories, neither of which is definite. It was indicated that one suspicion is that the men were injured in an explosion at Zimmerman's home while preparing a charge of explosives. The other theory was furnished by an Audubon policeman who, early yesterday heard three shots fired in the vicinity of the Ringside Inn, on the Black Horse Pike, near Nicholson Road.
The Audubon policeman, Joseph Riegert, was “cutting across” on his way to Audubon police headquarters and was nearly a quarter of a mile away from the Ringside Inn when be heard three shots.
A lake and fields separated him from the source of the shots. He went on to headquarters and told his fellow policeman he thought “there's been another shooting up at Ringside.”
Then Henry was brought to the West Jersey Homeopathic Hospital in Del Duca's car with a.38 caliber bullet in his right leg. The story of a ''phantom sniper” was told.
Then came Zimmerman and Connors into the Cooper Hospital and into the hands of the police.